Barclays Premier League: Weekend Preview

Arsenal will test their title credentials at the home of the Champions this weekend as the Barclays Premier League returns to action.

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Manchester United welcome the Gunners to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, with the visitors hoping to maintain their current five point lead at the top of the table.

Second placed Chelsea host West Brom, while Liverpool face Fulham at Anfield.

All of the bottom three have tricky home fixtures.

On Sunday, Tottenham and Manchester City will be hoping to close the gap on leaders Arsenal, when they host Newcastle and visit Sunderland respectively.

Aston Villa vs. Cardiff

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Aston Villa go in search of their first win since beating Manchester City in September. Cardiff are hoping to win their first away match since the same day.

Head-to-head

  • This is the first Premier League meeting between the two clubs, and the first in the top flight since a 2-2 draw at Villa Park in May 1962.
  • Villa were victorious the last time the teams met – knocking the Bluebirds out of the League Cup with a 1-0 home win in September 2009.

Aston Villa

  • Villa have conceded the opening goal in seven of their Premier League fixtures this season, the joint highest figure in the division.
  • It is six hours and 15 minutes without a goal for Villa since Andreas Weimann’s winner against City on 28 September. Villa are also without a win in four games.

Cardiff City

  • Cardiff are the only side in the Premier League yet to lead a game at half-time this season.
  • Influential playmaker Peter Whittingham began his career at Aston Villa, making 67 league and cup appearances.

Prediction: 2-0

Chelsea vs. West Brom

_70917934_186628511West Brom will be hoping to repeat their heroics which saw them beat Manchester United away earlier this season. Chelsea can close the gap on leaders Arsenal to two points.

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea have won all seven Premier League games against West Brom at Stamford Bridge, scoring 16 goals and conceding just once.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea and Manchester City are the only sides with 100% winning records in Premier League home games this season.
  • The only previous occasion that Jose Mourinho lost back-to-back Premier League games was in the final two matches of the 2005-06 season (at Blackburn and Newcastle).
  • Chelsea have hit more shots off target than any other Premier League side this season (77).

West Bromwich Albion

  • The Baggies have lost only one of their last seven league games (W3, D3, L1).
  • Their three away league wins in 2013 have come at Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester United.

Prediction: 3-0

Crystal Palace vs. Everton

_70968657_robertomartinez2Everton could temporarily move into the top four with a win against manger-less Crystal Palace. The hosts are bottom of the table, six points away from safety.

Head-to-head

  • Everton have won four of the last five meetings, scoring 14 goals and conceding just five. Their last clash was in April 2005, a 4-0 home win for Everton.
  • Crystal Palace’s last two home games against Everton have ended in 3-1 defeats.

Crystal Palace

  • Only one side has ever had fewer points from their first 10 Premier League games than Palace (three): Manchester City (two) in 1995-96.
  • Two of the three previous teams with three points (or fewer) from 10 Premier League matches have been relegated.

Everton

  • For the first time ever, Everton have only suffered one defeat from their opening 10 top-flight games in successive seasons.
  • Everton have won five of their last seven league matches.
  • Everton’s average possession away from home this season is 58%. Only Manchester City (62%) have a higher figure.

Prediction: 0-2

Liverpool vs. Fulham

_70972656_danielsturridge2Liverpool will be aiming to recover from defeat to Arsenal last weekend with a home win against Fulham. Daniel Sturridge is the league’s leading goal scorer with eight.

Head-to-head

  • Fulham have only won one of their 32 matches at Anfield (D9, L22). The solitary victory was by 1-0 in May 2012 courtesy of Martin Skrtel’s own goal.
  • Liverpool have won both league clashes since that win, scoring seven goals to Fulham’s one, including a 4-0 win in the corresponding fixture last season.

Liverpool

  • Liverpool kept a clean sheet in each of their opening three league games but have since conceded in seven successive matches.
  • The Reds have won all six league matches in which they opened the scoring this season, the best record in the division.
  • Daniel Sturridge is the joint-leading Premier League scorer in 2013 with 18 goals, the same as Robin van Persie and Christian Benteke. Sturridge’s only Premier League hat-trick came against Fulham in May.

Fulham

  • Fulham have the worst record in the league against top-half opposition, losing all five matches.
  • The Cottagers have only once scored more than one goal in a Premier League game this season (4-1 v Crystal Palace).

Prediction: 3-0

Southampton vs. Hull

_70920135_186626256Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has been named October’s manager of the month, and his side could go second if results go their way with a win against Hull.

Head-to-head

  • Southampton have won four of their last five games against Hull. Those five matches have produced a total of 20 goals.
  • Hull’s last win at Southampton was a 3-2 victory in a Division Two game on 17 February 1951.

Southampton

  • They are unbeaten in their last six Premier League home games, winning the last three.
  • Saints have conceded just one goal at St Mary’s this season.
  • They have conceded a league low 29 shots on target this season.

Hull City

  • The Tigers have scored just two second-half goals in this season’s Premier League.
  • They have also failed to score in three of their five away matches in the top flight.
  • Nine of the 10 league goals they have conceded have come away from home.

Prediction: 2-0

Norwich vs. West Ham

_70989540_181423845Norwich will be aiming to move out of the bottom three with a victory in their fixture against West Ham. The visitors have won just one in their last nine matches.

Head-to-head

  • Norwich City are unbeaten in 15 home league games against West Ham United (W8, D7) since a 1-0 top-flight defeat in February 1973.
  • West Ham did, however, win 1-0 at Carrow Road in the FA Cup in January 2006 on their way to reaching the final.

Norwich City

  • Only Crystal Palace (21) have conceded more goals than Norwich (20), with the 7-0 loss at Manchester City their heaviest since they were defeated by the same scoreline at Sheffield Wednesday in November 1938.
  • Chris Hughton’s side have already played four of the current top five (Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham) in the Premier League – losing all four games. 

West Ham United

  • West Ham have failed to find the net in six league games – the joint highest number in the Premier League along with Crystal Palace.
  • Only Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has kept more Premier League clean sheets (seven) than West Ham’s Jussi Jaaskelainen (six) this season.
  • Ravel Morrison has scored with both of his shots on target this season, with his two goals also making him the club’s top league scorer.

Prediction: 0-0

Tottenham vs. Newcastle United

_70944957_llorisTottenham will be hoping to add a win over Newcastle to their Europa League qualification at White Hart Lane. Newcastle haven’t won here for over 5 years.

Head-to-head

  • This is the 150th meeting between the sides. Tottenham have won 63 matches, Newcastle 54 and there have been 32 draws.
  • Newcastle’s last four visits to White Hart Lane have all ended in defeat, with Tottenham scoring 10 goals to Newcastle’s one.
  • However, the Magpies have won six away games at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.

Tottenham

  • There have only been 14 goals in Tottenham’s 10 league games this season. Spurs have scored one goal fewer (nine) than struggling Fulham but have twice as many points. They have also scored 19 goals fewer than Man City but are one point above them.
  • Spurs have kept seven clean sheets in the league this season, more than any other side prior to this weekend’s fixtures.

Newcastle United

  • Thirteen of Newcastle’s 14 league goals this season have been scored by Frenchmen. An Englishman has not scored any of their 33 Premier League goals in 2013.
  • One of those Frenchmen, Loic Remy, now has six goals in his last six league games.
  • Their 2-0 win over Chelsea ended a run of six league games without a clean sheet.

Prediction: 1-0

Sunderland vs. Manchester City

_70974095_agueroManchester City will be without David Silva for the trip to the Stadium of Light. Sunderland are still five points from safety but are through to the Capital One Cup Quarter-finals.

Head-to-head

  • Sunderland won this fixture 1-0 at home for the third successive season on Boxing Day 2012, courtesy of Adam Johnson’s winner against his former club.
  • However, Sunderland have only won four of their 18 Premier League games against Manchester City (W4, D2, L12).
  • There has not been a goalless draw between these clubs in the league since 1938.

Sunderland

  • Sunderland have scored three own goals this season, which is the same as the other 19 top-flight clubs combined.
  • The Black Cats have gone 14 matches without a clean sheet.
  • A quarter of the red cards in the Premier League this season (three of 12) have been awarded to Sunderland players.

Manchester City

  • The seven different goalscorers in their 7-0 win over Norwich equalled the Premier League record for one side in a match.
  • David Silva has created more chances this season (27) than any other top-flight player.
  • Manchester City have scored more goals (28) than Sunderland (24) have had shots on target this season.

Prediction: 0-2

Manchester United vs. Arsenal

_70927690_185917857Arsenal head to Old Trafford full of confidence after beating Dortmund in the week. Manchester United will be hoping to continue their recovery after an indifferent start.

Head-to-head

  • The Red Devils have lost just one of their last 12 league and cup games against the Gunners (W9, D2, L1).
  • This will be Arsene Wenger’s 50th game against United as Arsenal manager. He has won 15 of the previous 49 (excluding penalty shoot-outs).

Manchester United

  • The Red Devils have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time under manager David Moyes.
  • Fourteen of United’s last 19 league goals have been scored or assisted by Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney.

Arsenal

  • Victory would give Arsenal their highest ever points tally after 11 Premier League matches.
  • Arsenal are the only Premier League club to have scored in every game this season.
  • Prior to this weekend, only five players had assisted four or more Premier League goals this season – and three of them were Arsenal players (Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey).
  • Ramsey has 11 goals in 17 league and cup games for Arsenal this term, and 13 in 21 for club and country.

Prediction: 1-1

Swansea vs. Stoke City

_70973489_markhughesvmanuSwansea will hope to put the Welsh Derby defeat behind them at home to Stoke. Mark Hughes is looking for his 100th Premier League win as a manager and steer clear of the relegation zone.

Head-to-head

  • All four Premier League meetings have ended in home victories by a two-goal margin.
  • The Swans won the last clash 3-1 in January 2013.
  • Swansea have lost only one of their last 16 home league meetings with Stoke (W11, D4, L1).

Swansea

  • The Swans have only won one of their last 10 Premier League home games.
  • Wilfried Bony’s last league goal in open play came on the opening day of the season against Manchester United.

Stoke City

  • Stoke are without a win in their last seven league games (D3, L4) and have only won three of 24 league games on their travels since the start of last season.
  • Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is their joint top Premier League scorer this season with one goal.  
  • Marko Arnautovic has made 19 league appearances in 2013 but is yet to be on the winning side. It’s the longest such record in the top five European leagues.
  • Jon Walters is expected to make his 100th consecutive Premier League start. It is the longest current streak in the division.

Prediction: 2-1

Sat 9 Nov 2013 – Premier League

  • Aston Villa v Cardiff 15:00
  • Chelsea v West Brom 15:00
  • Crystal Palace v Everton 15:00
  • Liverpool v Fulham 15:00
  • Southampton v Hull 15:00
  • Norwich v West Ham 17:30

Sun 10 Nov 2013 – Premier League

  • Tottenham v Newcastle 12:00
  • Sunderland v Man City 14:05
  • Man Utd v Arsenal 16:10
  • Swansea v Stoke 16:10
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